The author of The Tipping Point returns with the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard to examine one the evolution and use of precision bombing in warfare.
The Bomber Mafia is an innovative audio book with music, sound effects and archival clips as well as a paperback. Gladwell’s easy conversational style works well in both formats, and his admiration for the Bomber Mafia shines through. His portraits of individuals are compelling ... Sometimes, however, his descriptions lack nuance ... Gladwell does not explore how racial attitudes influenced the bombing of Japan ... Gladwell does however confront us with difficult questions ... In so doing he has produced a thought-provoking, accessible account of how people respond to difficult choices in difficult times.
A kind of love song to the United States Air Force, which is surprising, because it is the least romantic of our armed services, with leaders who focus on technology, not tradition ... One of Gladwell’s skills is enabling us to see the world through the eyes of his subjects. To most people, a city park is a grace note, a green space that makes urban life more livable ... A novelty of this book is that Gladwell says it began as an audiobook and then became a written one, reversing the usual process ... Gladwell is a wonderful storyteller.
... there are books whose fusion of factual inaccuracy and moral sophistry is so total that they can only be written by Malcolm Gladwell ... sly maliciousness and explosive vacuity: the two primary qualities of Gladwell’s oeuvre ... by taking up military history, Gladwell’s half-witted didacticism threatens to convince millions of people that the only solution to American butchery is to continue shelling out for sharper and larger knives ... The stakes of The Bomber Mafia are no less than World War II and life or death, and yet Gladwell’s narrative is transmitted as seamlessly as the Wall Street or Silicon Valley koans that appear atop LinkedIn profiles, Clubhouse accounts, and Substack missives. Even his statements of objective fact are written to look like something an HSBC junior analyst might tell himself after a bad quarterly review ... interrogation of the actual historical record and the genuine moral dilemmas it poses—not the low-stakes bait that he trots out as an MBA case study in War—is subordinated to fluffy bullshit and biographical color ... omission is par for the course in The Bomber Mafia. While Gladwell constantly reminds the reader that the air force leadership was trying to wage more effective wars so as to end all wars, he cannot help but shove under the rug that which is inconvenient.